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St Mark's Basilica shows his class to win €570k pot in thrilling Champion Stakes

Aidan O’Brien’s star beat Tarnawa by three-quarters of a length in a contest that lived up to its billing.

ryan-moore-on-st-marks-basilica-comes-home-to-win Ryan Moore steered St Mark's Basilica to another Group 1 win. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ST MARK’S BASILICA justified his odds-on favouritism as he added a mouthwatering renewal of the Irish Champion Stakes to his superb three-year-old season.

Aidan O’Brien’s star was sent off the 5/6 favourite in the hands of Ryan Moore at Leopardstown, and stayed on best of all to win by three-quarters of a length from Tarnawa.

Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare was a nose back in third with early pacesetter Patrick Sarsfield completing the four-runner field.

In his first race since winning the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown 10 weeks ago, St Mark’s Basilica showed his trademark brilliance to overcome his Group 1 rivals in an absorbing tactical affair over a mile-and-a-quarter.

St Mark’s Basilica — who has already won both French 2000 Guineas and French Derby this season — drifted right in the closing stages, taking Tarnawa with him, and then had to face an anxious wait for the result to be confirmed in a stewards’ inquiry.

“It was great because it was very tactical,” said O’Brien.

“One thing we knew is that he does quicken. That’s what he always had – his strong qualities are that he relaxes and can really turn it on.

“They set off a nice pace, Kevin (Manning, on Poetic Flare) was in second and he steadied it down to get himself straightened up and set up.

“When they turned, in they burned and I’d love to see what time they did for the last two furlongs. They ran up the straight.

“He’s just an exceptional horse and we’re very lucky to have him.”

 

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– Additional reporting by Press Association

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